Patoka Sportsman 3-13-21

Patoka Sportsman 3-13 & 3-14

The Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife recently awarded its top performing employees for their contributions to conservation.  Jeff Thompson won the Fish & Wildlife Mentor Award. In Jeff’s long tenure as a district wildlife biologist, he has mentored many staff over the years, providing them with the practical training needed to manage Indiana’s wildlife. Thompson’s mentoring efforts carry forward a tradition of conservation excellence.

The St. Anthony Conservation Club will hold their 10th Annual 3D 30 target Archery Expo on Saturday, March 27.  3D registration is from 8AM – 1 PM.  Raffle and activities will run from 8AM – 3:30 PM. The event will follow current CDC guidelines.  There is a $10 entry fee.  If shooters are 10 or younger they can shoot for free. Shooters will be entered for a chance to win a St. Anthony Mill mineral package. Prizes will be awarded including a prize target shooting for over $3,000 in prizes. An official scorer will also be there.  Food and drinks will be available.  Make sure to check out the on-site vendors, DNR, new truck & ATV displays. Bowhunter Magazine founder M.R. James will also be there to share stories. Tickets are available on site or from any club member.  For more information follow St. Anthony Conservation Club on Facebook or call 812-630-1670.

The Indiana State Trappers Association is sponsoring a habitat and Predator management Class March 20 starting at 9 AM EST at the Duff Conservation Club.  Topics covered include: habitat management, benefits of predator management, predator calling and predator trapping.  You will be outside so dress for the weather. For more information contact Matt Badger at 765-615-2394.  Cost is $35 for adults.  Kids 16 and under are $20.  There will be a limit of 25 students.  Lunch will be provided.

Spencer County will have a Hunter Education Class at the Chrisney 4 H Center on Hwy 70 Friday, April 9th 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (CST) AND Saturday, April 10th from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM (CST). Students MUST attend both classes to receive their certificate. The class and materials are free and classes are conducted by local Conservation Officers and certified volunteer instructors. State protocols will be enforced; face masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be available and social distancing will be used. Bring snacks and/or drinks, pencils and highlighters. Lunch will not be provided. Seats are limited; register at before Thursday, April 8 6:00 PM. Any questions contact [email protected]. Another class will be held on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 at the Crawford County Community Park in Marengo. A hunter ed. Class will be  held Friday, March 26 from 6-9 PM and Saturday, March 27 from 8 AM – 4 PM at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds. For more information contact Kendrick Fuhrman, John Watkins or call Tony Mann at 812-837-9536. Anyone born after December 31, 1986 is required to be certified in Hunter Education before they can purchase a hunting license.

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) gave preliminary adoption to the changes listed below governing muzzleloaders for deer hunting, beaver trapping, and wild turkey hunting equipment at their meeting on Nov. 17, 2020. The public comment period has ended, and the NRC will vote on the proposed changes at their meeting on March 16, 2021.

Remove the restriction in 312 IAC 9-3-3 requiring the powder used in muzzleloaders to be loaded only from the muzzle end of the muzzleloader. This change would allow deer hunters the option to use additional muzzleloaders during the firearms and muzzleloader seasons, including new equipment that has the powder encased and loaded from the breech end, thereby keeping the powder dry. Because the powder is protected inside a vessel, it may also increase the number of days an individual can hunt (because they are not as affected by rainy conditions). The bullet must still be loaded from the muzzle.

Allow trappers to take beavers at any time of day on the first and last day of the seasons, making this season consistent with the opening and closing days of the seasons for trapping other wild animals. This change is needed to be consistent with other rules governing the trapping of wild animals in 312 IAC 9-3, and to allow trappers more time to set and check traps on the opening and closing date. The current rule is an unnecessary restriction, and there is no need to restrict when a trap can be set during the season.

Allow wild turkey hunters the option of using a 28-, 16-, or 10-gauge and .410 shotgun to hunt wild turkeys, in addition to other equipment that is already legal in the spring and fall turkey seasons in 312 IAC 9-4-11. The .410 has less recoil than some of the current shotguns that are currently legal, making it easier for youth and others to use. The additional change to allow the tungsten super shot (#9 and other size shot) will allow new types of shot that are now available for wild turkey hunting. The proposed language for the shot density is included for the purpose of restricting shot compositions to those shot sizes and densities that will remain effective at forty (40) yards or less to assure a quick kill on a wild turkey, while reducing the severity of accidental shooting of humans.

Remember, 2020-21 hunting and fishing licenses expire March 31. You can purchase your annual hunting or fishing licenses for 2021-22 now. Spending time outdoors is the perfect way to connect with others and nature. Time outdoors also improves your health and happiness. Beat cabin fever while making memories enjoying one of your favorite outdoor hobbies.

Chilly shallows are beginning to warm thanks to higher temperatures and more daylight hours. Take advantage of the warmer weather by targeting crappie as they move into shallower water. Use crappie jigs or live bait such as minnows, and focus your efforts around areas with sunken logs, standing timber, brush piles, weedy edges, or docks. Smaller bodies of water in the southern part of the state will warm up faster. Find great locations on the Where to Fish Map. You can also find the best crappie fishing locations listed on the DNR’S crappie fishing website.

Youth hunters may apply for reserved turkey hunts during the special youth wild turkey hunting season on DNR properties from March 15-26. Hunts will occur on April 17-18. Youth hunters who are under age 18 on the day of the hunt are eligible. A limit will be placed on the number of youth hunters allowed to hunt a respective property on each hunting day in order to improve the quality of hunts for participants. Find a list of participating DNR properties on their website.

Hunting seasons ending in March

March 1 - crow
March 15 - coyote, striped skunk
March 31 - game turtles, light geese

Trapping season for coyote, striped skunk, and beaver ends March 15.

Communities interested in applying for funding through DNR’s Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP) can apply through March 31. CHAP is designed to increase hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer in communities and to help alleviate human/deer conflicts. The program provides participating organizations with financial and technical assistance to administer hunting programs in their communities.

Indiana is blessed with unique places and remarkable natural features. From state parks to forests to lakes, this passport includes 59 outdoor locations to explore. It's free to sign up. All you need to do is check in to one of the passport locations, and you are on your way to earning prizes. The more you visit, the more you win. You can also qualify for a grand prize giveaway and specific drawings throughout the year. This program is 100% free, but property entrance fees apply when you visit.
Prizes include:
• sign up week decals/stickers
• 10 visits sunglasses
• 25 visits water bottle
• 40 visits trucker hat
• All 59 places backpack
There will also be some special promotions each season of the year, and we’ll be giving away some annual passes, gift cards and Outdoor Indiana magazine subscriptions as a part of that.

The restaurants at Abe Martin Lodge, Clifty Inn, Canyon Inn, Potawatomi Inn, Spring Mill Inn and Turkey Run Inn are currently open to dine-in service. Seating capacity is limited, based on county COVID-19 restrictions. The Garrison Restaurant at Fort Harrison remains closed at this time to dine-in service, but delicious carry out options are available.The buffets remain closed in all locations, but there is plenty of great food on each menu. State Park Inn/Lodge conference facilities are also open for meetings and gatherings with limited capacity based on county COVID-19 restrictions as well.

You can help Indiana’s warblers, bats, salamanders, and other wildlife by donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund when you file your 2020 state taxes. Funds have been used to recover species like the bald eagle, which was removed from Indiana’s endangered species list last fall. The Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund supports more than 150 Species of Greatest Conservation Need. “Nongame” means species that are not hunted, trapped, or fished.

Donate all or a portion of your state tax refund to the Nongame Wildlife Fund by marking the appropriate boxes on your 2020 Indiana tax forms or when filing electronically. Watch a video on how to fill out the form. To donate, fill out Line 1 of Schedule 5/Schedule IN-DONATE form with “Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund”, enter the three-digit code “200”, and then enter donation amount on Line 17 of the main IT-40 form. Interested in learning more about Indiana’s most imperiled species and the work DNR is doing to save them? Consider subscribing to Nongame Wildlife Fund News.

This year's four Free Fishing Days are May 2, June 5-6, and Sept. 25. Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout stamp to fish in public waters on these days. Free Fishing Days are a great opportunity to give fishing a try or share fishing with a friend or family member.

Brown County State Park’s recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places makes it the state’s largest historic district.Listing as a historic district recognizes an area that has a high degree of historical integrity in its buildings, structures, and landscapes. To be eligible, a district is required to have been associated with events, developments, or people that were important in the history of the state or country. In addition, districts on the National Register must be at least 50 years old and look much the way they did in the past.

Spring is fast approaching, and soon young wildlife will be noticeable statewide. If you find young wildlife, remember:

  • Adult animals rarely abandon their young. The parent may be out searching for food. Leaving young unattended is normal for many species.
  • Do not hover to see if a parent comes back. Give the baby animal space and only check back periodically. Adult animals will not return if a person is standing nearby.
  • Young wildlife should not be handled. They can carry diseases or parasites and are capable of inflicting damage by biting or scratching. Human scent can also alert predators to a young animal’s presence.

While rescuing young wildlife is legal, keeping them is not. Truly orphaned or injured wild animals must be given to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator within 24 hours to maximize their chance of survival.

Large areas with turf grass, waterbodies, and food sources create ideal habitat for Canada geese, potentially leading to human-goose conflict. Most conflicts occur during the nesting season from March to June. If you see a goose exhibiting aggressive behavior, give the bird and its nest some space and calmly leave the area. Injuries resulting from human-goose conflicts most often occur when people run from geese.

Prior to nesting, harassment techniques can be implemented without a permit so long as the birds are not harmed and local ordinances are not violated. Harassment techniques can be audial, visual, or physical. If a Canada goose nest does not have eggs or birds in it, it can be destroyed without a permit. The nest must not be kept. Once eggs have been laid, no further action can be taken without first registering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Remember, efforts to deter Canada geese are not effective if supplemental foods such as bread or bird seed are being provided.

Nature provides a place to have fun, connect with our thoughts and find peace of mind. For this reason and many others, it is imperative that everyone have access to the outdoors. Thanks to a kind and generous donor, McCormick’s Creek State Park now offers guests access to a Grit Freedom Chair.

One of the greatest threats to wildlife populations is habitat fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation occurs when larger areas of habitat are broken into smaller areas that are isolated from others. A strip of native trees, shrubs, or other vegetation can combat habitat fragmentation by connecting two areas of wildlife habitat, creating a corridor. Corridors increase wildlife survival by increasing food sources, providing cover, decreasing predation, and connecting isolated wildlife populations. Corridors should be at least 50 feet wide. Shrubs such as hazelnut, gray or silky dogwood, elderberry, and sumac provide both food and cover for a wide variety of wildlife species such as rabbits, deer, wild turkey, songbirds, and box turtles.

Now is a great time to plant native trees and shrubs. The DNR Division of Forestry operates two tree nurseries that offer low-cost trees and shrubs. Technical assistance for Indiana landowners is also available; contact your district wildlife biologist.

Although barn owls can nest during any month of the year, most eggs are laid in March and April. Indiana DNR maintains a live nest webcam stream year-round in one of our barn owl nest boxes. Last year’s resident pair laid eggs in February and fledged one owlet in May. Watch the live nest webcam to see when the first egg is laid over the next few weeks. Barn owls are a state endangered species in Indiana and supported by the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.